My second Members Bill aims to increase New Zealand’s minimum wage to $15/hr. If ultimately successful, I would expect the minimum wage to already be sitting at $14 by the time it got through the Parliamentary process. A $1/hr increase may not seem like much to some, but it makes a big difference to those living below the poverty line.
A minimum wage increase helps working families put nutritious food on the table for their kids.
One of the additional bonuses is that it is likely to have a stimulatory effect on the economy. The estimated $427 million cost will boost the prospects of many small businesses. This is because people on low incomes are likely to spend any additional money immediately – on necessities like food, shelter, heating and school books. Wealthier folk are more likely to spend money on overseas trips (which don’t help our economy much) and/or savings (which doesn’t have an immediate stimulatory effect).
I’ve put the case for the minimum wage in greater detail in an Otago Daily Times article - published today.
UPDATE: 4 September. The NZ Herald has carried a separate opinion piece from me on the minimum wage.